Censoring the past


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Today when I was cleaning I came across a really cute black diary with a red spider on the front and opened the first page. It belonged to C, nearly ten years ago, and he'd only written one short entry basically trying to ask himself why he should keep a diary. It included a quote from Marilyn Manson's diary (published in The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell) that read "People don't keep journals for themselves, they keep them for other people. Like a secret they don't want to tell but they want everyone to know," which I thought held a lot of truth. I guess that's where blogs are the ultimate diary, they're as personal as you choose, but you're choosing to share it with an audience of people, often whom you don't know are reading it. I asked him why he didn't keep writing in it and he said that he'd had a lot of ill fated diaries.


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I brought a whole lot of things in from the shed today I'd been storing out there. After the dust storm and a week of rain I knew the items in there probably weren't faring well and a lot of it needed to be thrown away, so I went through it and was pretty impressed with the amount I was able to throw out. I also came across a few of my own old diaries and packed them into a box as quickly as I could. I have this long running problem with reading anything I've written that isn't current. I don't know why I keep them when they make me feel so uncomfortable. I suppose I think one day I will look back on them with fondness and nostalgia, be able to laugh at them and refresh my memory of things I've forgotten, but for the moment, they're packed safely away where I won't accidentally read them, rehash the past and hate my(former)self, haha.


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I have the same feeling for old blogs. I revisited an old Livejournal recently (which had the gorgeous title of "I Just Can't Relate To 99% of Humanity") and felt so uncomfortable about my poor hope-filled musings about an ill-fated long winded relationship, the trials of grade 8 and my dissatisfaction with my home life, that I fumbled desperately to find the function that allowed me to quickly make all entries private. It felt like I was lurking the Livejournal entries of a stranger or reading somebody else's diary (I was amused by my constant over usage of the phrase "that kicks ass" though). It's not what I wrote that makes me uncomfortable, it's the way I wrote, or melodramatically, the 'person I was when I wrote them'. As it turns out, without a premium account you literally have to open each entry one by one and change the privacy settings, a long arduous task I am currently obsessively compulsively embarking upon, haha. Again, although these entries make me cringe and squirm, I can't bring myself to delete them completely and so I'm wasting a good hour going through hiding these stupid naive rants of a fourteen year old, for a time when I might feel better about reading them. I think the thing I hate the most about the things I used to write is that I wasn't being honest with myself, I was constantly trying to conform to some kind of ideal or stereotype, even in things I wrote privately. I guess it's one of those moments you often have in life wherein you desperately wish you could go back and tell your younger self to wise up. It is strange to want to hold myself back from writing because I might hate it later, but I guess I'm probably always going to hate it later. I try to make myself think about how lovely it is that I kept a record of those times and experiences and how it allows for some self reflection and record of personal growth, but I just can't help but want to hate that old timid, doe-eyed, easily led person.


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A while ago I came across an old exercise book my mum wrote in for about 6 months when I was really small. It wasn't so much a 'diary', she just wrote a paragraph recounting what happened each day - one entry I read went something like, "Bianca and I weeded the garden today, got a call from Donald at 3, had to go pick him up from Gloucester, had a fight on the way home, cooked pasta for tea". Even though they weren't overly descriptive or recounting the most pleasant times in our lives, I was absolutely fascinated by each entry and wished she'd written more. I find remnants from the past that other people have written absolutely fascinating, I just wish I could foster the same feelings for my own.


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Of course, rereading these old diaries and entries made me think about this blog and how I might feel about it in the future. The whole is often greater than the sum of its parts and so I'm going to try to be more accepting of those 'awkward years', the choices I've made and try to recount on moments from the past fondly. I guess sometimes I just wish I hadn't documented it! If you're reading this 29 year old Bianca, I'm sorry!


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Maybe in ten years the internet will be an entirely different realm and all of the information I've stored here won't exist any more! When I said this to C he said "...and there will be cars that fly, and robots that do your homework and jet packs!".

Do you ever feel uncomfortable about reading things you've written from a long time ago?